deus ex machina

The click of Maya’s heels echoed in the corridors as they walked towards the server room on the third floor. Jerry scanned his access card and pushed the door at the sound of it unlocking. “Make sure you tag in and tag out, otherwise security will think someone unauthorised is in the room.”

Maya nodded, passing her own card over the panel. No response. She tried again, and the red light flashed twice. Jerry glanced at it. “I told Adrian to add your—” He broke off when it beeped and the light flicked green. “Huh. Never done that before. I’ll ask Adrian to take a look later.”

She gave the scanner a dubious look before following him in. The drop in temperature made her shudder. “I guess I should’ve brought my jacket.” The hum of the air conditioning system was almost as loud as the servers.

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drifting towards the open sea

"And sometimes I drift towards the open sea, further and further away from you."
The text reads: “And sometimes I drift towards the open sea, further and further away from you.”

This was actually a line from a poem I was trying to write, and it was the only line I liked from it. The piece was low key and melancholic, but I didn’t like it as a whole. I pulled out this line and started experimenting with the font size and colours, partly as a passive-aggressive protest against all those cheery inspirational posters my friends kept sharing on Facebook. I was also fascinated by the idea of using only one font for a graphic without any illustrations, doing away with all the fancy borders and curlicues.

I’d been playing with the graphic on and off for months, because, well, what do I do with a line without context? I could post it on Facebook, but I’d get raised eyebrows and questions about what I was trying to hint at, so nah. Now I get to use it in the Discover challenge: mixing media.

Halfway through the word ‘further’ stopped making sense because I was staring at it too much. And then I started worrying about the difference between ‘further’ and ‘farther’. (Before you protest that one pertains to physical distance and the other to more abstract concepts, the Oxford Dictionary doesn’t really differentiate the two words and points out that ‘further’ is more common. It might be an American vs British English thing, but I’m definitely partial to ‘further’.)

The graphic was made using Inkscape. The font used is Georgia, in various sizes.

nice to finally meet you

I fumbled with the doorknob, glad to find it unlocked, since I there was no way I could have managed it with the stack of copies I was holding. I almost tripped over the boxes sitting by the doorway. “Damn it, Evan, didn’t I tell you to put those back on the shelf?” I shoved the door fully open with my shoulder to see Ramesh standing in front of the whiteboard instead, an eyebrow raised, and another student I didn’t recognise lounging on the only empty seat we had by the wall. Not from our course, then (we were pretty small), but I felt I knew him from somewhere. Material sciences lectures, maybe?

“Evan went out to get … something,” Ramesh said, gesturing vaguely at the door with the marker in his hand. “He took your car keys. Sorry about the boxes; I just pushed them aside. I thought he was doing something with those circuit boards?”

“We’re lucky he didn’t explode the room,” I said. I looked around, trying to find somewhere to put my papers. Our guest stood up, and I deposited my burden on the chair. “Thanks,” I said to him, and he shrugged, and I turned my attention back to Ramesh. “Seriously, though, did you have to put Evan in charge of this thing? Now he’s panicking and pushing everything on to me! He’s got no sense when it comes to delegating work.”

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hi, I also write fanfic!

I suppose it just shows how deeply I’m enmeshed in fandom that when I see the word ‘original‘, I think about ‘original fiction’. I don’t think it’s a term widely used outside of fic-writing fandom circles. Some of you might even be wondering, original fiction as opposed to what? Unoriginal fiction?

Fanfiction. Works written by fans for other fans, based on works of others.

I can sense some of you rolling your eyes at this.

I won’t bother writing anything in defence of fanfic; so many other fans have done this. It’s probably one of those things you either get or don’t. It doesn’t really matter.

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The prime meridian at Greenwich, 2012.

The prime meridian monument at Greenwich.
An imaginary line running around half the globe (and a monument marking it). Greenwich, September 2012.

I went to visit Greenwich alone since my friends had wanted to go shopping and I had declined with something akin to horror. Shopping is fine when I need to buy something, but just wandering around looking at everything didn’t appeal to me much. They didn’t understand why I wanted to go see an imaginary line which arbitrarily ran from one pole to the other, so we parted ways gladly.

I got on trains, I got off trains, I walked up a hill and arrived at the observatory. I discreetly inserted myself into a group of students on a tour, and listened to their guide as he explained some of the exhibits in the museum. I was paying more attention to him than the kids were, and I think he was rather gratified by my presence. I looked at old telescopes. I wandered up old buildings, stared bemusedly at empty old rooms, chatted with one of the security personnel who talked about the Thames and the London Olympics. I took a picture of an American couple kissing across the prime meridian.

Far away from home.

I contemplated the line that marked the Greenwich meridian a fair bit longer than most of the tourists.  I got a few curious glances from both the security people and the visitors. It was just a line; you can jump across it and step on it and dance on it and nothing happens. It’s just a line, and also history and geography and astronomy and science and time all bundled into one.

It still remained a line after I was done staring at it. Shaking off my ridiculous melancholy, I went for a hot chocolate and bought a few postcards, then trudged back down the hill and through the park, and went to see what else Greenwich had to offer.

(This was written for the daily prompt border, mostly because it reminds me of how all these lines are arbitrary and important at the same time.)